Remote work can be a real challenge, especially long-term. So how can you manage your mental health while meeting the demands of working from home?
As the UK endures its third national lockdown, many contact centre agents are feeling the strain. While vaccinations are rolling out, home working looks set to continue and school closures mean many parents have been juggling home-schooling commitments as well. To keep happy and healthy, it’s important to practise self-care.
Remote work and mental health – a snapshot
While remote work offers many unique benefits, it can also make it incredibly difficult to juggle your personal and professional lives. A 2020 study into the mental health impact of the UK’s first lockdown revealed that 57% of workers experienced symptoms of anxiety, while 64% reported signs of depression . Likewise, a joint study commissioned by LinkedIn and The Mental Health Foundation found that 56% of workers experienced a deterioration of their mental health . People currently working from home are living in a high-stakes environment, both globally and personally. Finding enough hours in the day for work and homeschooling, as well as virtual social activities, can leave you feeling drained and put you at greater risk of stress and burnout.
So what can you do to ensure you’re managing your mental health as a remote contact centre agent, while continuing to deliver quality customer service?
1. Accentuate the positive
During challenging times, it’s important to find ways to stay positive. Think about the things in life that make you happy and surround yourself, and your workspace, with reminders of these.
Decorate your desk with:
- Photos of your family, friends or loved ones
- Vision boards with inspirational quotes and images
- Houseplants, desk ornaments or artwork
- Stylish or matching office stationery
- Reminders of your achievements
A quick glance at your favourite family photo, a cutting from your garden, or a glowing review from a past customer can make even the toughest of days more manageable.
2. Set up for success
Working from home is difficult enough without having to worry about your internet connection dropping out or poor audio quality during calls, so make sure you request and/or invest in the right equipment.
Here are a few tips:
- Establish a reliable WIFI connection by setting up close to your router or investing in a WIFI booster
- Use a noise-cancelling headset to ensure high-quality audio during calls and recordings (and block out unexpected noise from kids or pets)
- Use professional virtual backgrounds during video-conferencing calls to safeguard against guest appearances from family and flatmates
3. Stay connected
Socialising with your colleagues is good for your mental wellbeing. Dealing with a difficult enquiry? Make sure you ask for help. Received a nasty complaint? Find a friend who can lend an ear. Nailed that web chat request? Celebrate your success!
Working from home can be isolating, so customer service providers using a cloud contact centre solution should take advantage of the many messaging apps and group collaboration tools available. For example, with Puzzel’s Microsoft Teams integration, agents can instantly connect with their colleagues to ask for help and advice while staying focused on delivering exceptional customer service.
4. Get moving
Between lockdown and the live-at-home lifestyle, most of us aren’t getting as many steps in as we’d like and this can have a serious effect on our mental health. To remedy this, you need to find creative ways to integrate movement into your daily schedule. Try converting your desk into a sit-stand workstation so you can alternate between sitting and standing. Otherwise try taking short five-minute breaks throughout the day for some light stretches or a little stroll around the house.
5. Switch off
A 2020 study revealed that while working from home, UK workers clock up an average of 28 hours of overtime each month . That’s the equivalent of four extra days! When we work from home, we have a tendency to ‘always be on’. This blurs the lines of our personal and professional lives and contributes to poor mental health .
To manage this, peak performance researcher Dr Adam Fraser suggests a 5-minute daily ritual of ‘Reflecting, Resting, and Resetting’ to transition yourself from work to your next role (as a parent, partner, friend or flatmate). It can be as simple as packing up your home workspace, reflecting on your day and taking three deep breaths to rest and become present. You can then reset and shift your mindset from work life to home life.
At Puzzel, we are constantly innovating to support contact centre agents working from home.
With secure cloud hosting and a wide range of apps and integrations, you can continually customise your CCaaS solution to suit your remote work needs.